East Midlands Airport is the largest employment site in the region outside of the city of Leicester, with 6,730 employees employed by 90 companies.
The airport contributes £239 million of Gross Value Added income to the region.
The airport also functions as a cargo and logistics hub both regionally and nationally. Logistics companies including TNT, DHL, FedEX and Amazon are all located at either the Pegasus business park or the East Midlands Gateway hub.
A reduction in activity at the airport is likely to affect employment at the East Midlands Gateway, further damaging economic activity in the region.
The airport is very well connected to both the M1 and the rail network and is an excellent example of an integrated transport network.
Unite is warning that without urgent action by central government to stabilise the aviation sector, jobs dependent on East Midlands airport, including crew, ground staff, engineers and associated retail, transport and other roles, will be swept away.
Unite has produced a blueprint of how the government should intervene across the entire aviation sector including airlines and airports to protect the jobs and conditions of workers. Such loans would come with strict strings attached regarding executive pay, corporate governance and requiring strict environmental standards to be adopted to radically improve the industry’s carbon footprint.
Unite regional secretary Paresh Patel said “Airports are hives of economic activity. The airport is critical to the economic welfare of the entire East Midlands. It supports the jobs and livelihoods of thousands, from air crew to taxi drivers to shop staff.
“If these jobs go then a huge economic hole will open up right across the East Midlands and it could take decades to recover.
“Overnight, airports were effectively shutdown by the government to protect the public’s health but we are now pleading with ministers to protect our area’s long-term economic security.
“East Midlands Airport is a hub for air cargo regionally and nationally and any reduction of activity at the airport is set to have a severe effect on the companies operating at East Midlands Gateway creating further economic misery for workers in the region.
“We are not asking for a giveaway but for loans that will be repaid when the sector is back on its feet, and we have support for this from across the political spectrum.
“But the clock is ticking. It is more than two months since the chancellor promised that a support package would be forthcoming for aviation but he has yet to deliver. The communities that rely on the East Midlands Airport for jobs and their prosperity cannot wait much longer.”